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Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper
Overall: 20.3 x 14 cm (8 x 5 1/2 in.); Painting only: 7.5 x 10.1 cm (2 15/16 x 4 in.)
Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.182.a
Shapur, who had long ruled as king of the frogs, was overthrown and exiled for cruelty. Seeking revenge on his political enemies, he sought the allegiance of a frog-eating serpent. The serpent’s lair is shown in cross section amid the heavily shaded rocks. A pipal tree (ficus religiosa), native to India, bends over the body of the frog.
This story is set in China, and the emphasis on the layers of shaded rocks may suggest the artist’s impression of a Chinese landscape. Moreover, the snake’s markings appear to be those of a Chinese Mountain pit viper.
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